The world’s oldest Latin version of the Bible is to return to Britain next year for the first time in over 1,300 years.
The manuscript, known as Codex Amiatinus, is one of only three produced by Northumbrian monks at Wearmouth-Jarrow Abbey in the early eighth century.
Hailed as one of the greatest treasures of the Anglo-Saxon world, it weighs 35kg, is 1ft thick and has been in Italy for several hundred years.
The Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence has agreed to let the British Library borrow the Codex for its 2018-19 exhibition, entitled ‘Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms’.
Curator Dr Claire Breay said it was incredible that the manuscript had survived while so much from that time period has been lost.
Dr Breay said: “It is the earliest surviving manuscript of the Bible in Latin, and we are excited to be bringing it back to Britain for the first time in 1,302 years”.
“It is one of the greatest treasures of Anglo-Saxon times yet it is not very well known by the general public. This loan will give the manuscript the attention it deserves”, she added.
The British Library’s Chief Executive Roly Keating called Codex Amiatinus “extraordinary”, adding that it was “one of the great acts of creative book production of the entire millennium”.